It’s hard being Undead.
For generations past, our unlifestyle was pleasant and unknown. It was lonesome, true. But we found each other, and we forged communities based upon darkness and a mutual agreement to refrain from eating each other. Even after the infernal electric light bulb polluted the dark, we were able to continue our nocturnal proclivities unmolested. We transformed at will into bats or wolves or we rose from cemeteries, and we thrived during our nights of hunting and gathering and playing bridge.
But now … now … never in all my years upon this Earth have the Undead known such woe. Nay, not even in the years of torches and pitchforks.
How nostalgic we have grown for the good old nights! Oh, how we took them for granted, all those fine evenings when we used to set out for a night’s hunting, never once having to worry about being thronged by teenage girls begging you to bite them.
I fear that I am to blame. It was so foolish of me to hand the letters over to Mr. Stoker. He promised—he swore an oath!—that when he edited them and published a volume in both of our names, it would be a cautionary tale. We Undead had become greedy, terribly greedy, and our numbers were swelling dangerously. Having a conscience, as some of us do, I believed that if more of our prey were made aware of the threat we posed, they would take precautions…
Damn! Damn! How I wish I could reverse time! Should I have foreseen that old Stoker would instead turn the little book into a rape fantasy or, worse, that young girls would actually find such a thing appealing? I had been Undead too long to remember how Sunlighter insanity works. (That is one thing I do not miss.)
Girls, I regret to inform you that we do not wish to marry you.
And now in this age of “Media” and “Technology,” with films and television and the “World Wide Web,” it no longer appears that the mere sight of the Undead can be enough to puncture the living heart with fear unto death. Nay, a number of Sunlighters now come prepared with stakes, crosses, or silver bullets—damn those irritating handbooks!—and the rest simply point their telephones at us.
No, we cannot get you into a movie.
Miserable as it is to endure all this pain, there comes a night every single year when it multiplies into paroxysms of horror. Halloween, how we despise you!
First, the lack of respect is utterly shocking. So many Sunlighters profess to adore us, yet look at your costumes. I ask whether a single one of you who enjoys “dressing up” as a vampire, werewolf, or zombie has ever expended a single second of your short lives attempting to make our acquaintance? Have you ever taken tea with us, or inquired about our unlives, our cultural customs and traditional dress, or the bodily and emotional toll of nightly transformations into bats or wolves? And then you have the cheek to question our “costumes”?
Second, while some might argue that we should not complain about a night of incredibly easy hunting, it is an ease that leaves us feeling hollow inside. And also ill.
All those millions of sugary “bite-sized treats” you gorge? They wreak havoc on our blood sugar levels. Yes, thanks to your diet, we the Undead are now facing an epidemic of diabetes and obesity. You are what you eat—and so are we.
The time has come for you to learn that we the Undead now face a crisis, and it is a crisis you the Living share with us. To receive the nutrition we ingested from hunting just one Sunlighter a mere generation ago, we must now hunt three. Would it really kill you to eat something organic or local once in a while? Or to cut back on the red meat and French fries? No—but we might if you don’t.
Accordingly, for our protection as well as yours, the Coalition of Concerned Undead has issued the following statement to the media:
“Halloween is a matter of life and unlife. Please stay home.”
Jeremiah Goulka is a writer based in Washington, DC. Before he couldn’t stand it any longer, he worked at two federal agencies and a prominent think-tank. You can follow him on Twitter @jeremiahgoulka or contact him through his website www.jeremiahgoulka.com.